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What is art?

This is a big, big question. Here are some basic distinctions you may want to
The fine arts
The fine arts are what most people mean when they just say art. These include
artistic disciplines such as painting and sculpture. Typically, they are objects
created to be beautiful.
Arts and crafts
A craft is a similar, related concept and we do use the term arts and crafts. In
arts and crafts, objects are created by hand. A good example would be tapestry.
The visual arts
These are the ones we look at and
include paintings, drawings and photographs. Does cinema count? For
some people, yes. Television?
The plastic arts
These are the ones we can touch. A sculpture and a piece of pottery are
Performance art
This is when you see someone performing and what they do/produce is a piece
of art. Theatre can be called a form of performance art, perhaps a better
example is juggling. We normally use this term for art that is different. There
is also a relatively new phenomenon of the street artist.

There are many types of pictures. If it is picture of somebody, it is generally a
portrait. if it is a picture of a place, it is generally a landscape. While a
picture of an object by itself is a still life.
Three genres of picture possibly worth knowing are a watercolour which is
painted onto paper, an oil painting which is normally painted onto canvas (a
tent like material) and a sketch which is normally a preparatory drawing.

Philosophies of art
Art has changed greatly over the ages. You certainly dont need to be able to talk
about the differences between Renaissance art, Mannerism, the Baroque, the
Pre-Raphaelites, Impressionism and Cubism if you did, you would probably
scare your IELTS examiner. It might help to have this much knowledge though:
figurative/representational art: this is where the painting/object looks like
something from life
abstract art: this is where you see squares, circles and other shapes and you
cannot (immediately) tell what the painting is about

contemporary art: this is the art of now. Its dangerous to use the word
modern because modernism in art actually happened quite a long time ago
(the 1930s was probably its heyday).

Where do you see art?

You normally find art in an art gallery. You walk around and admire the
exhibits in an exhibition, while discussing whether the curator has got the
lighting right and whether that picture should really be hung next to that one.
Sometimes you might also find art in museums, but that is much less common.
For example, the British Museum has artefacts from Britains past, while the
National Gallery is a collection of art.

Would you buy it?

Art tends to be expensive. A masterpiece by Van Gogh could be said to
be priceless thats so expensive that no one has the money to afford it. A lot
of art forms part of a nations heritage and the government protects it from
sale abroad.

People and art

Not everyone likes art. People who like to spend a lot of time admiring art are
often termed culture vultures (a fairly idiomatic term), while the idiom for
people who dislike art is philistines.
There is of course art and art. People who appreciate the more elitist forms
of art may be said to have highbrow tastes, while those who prefer the less
intellectual art forms may have lowbrow tastes.

What makes art special?

Another big question. Some people think that it is important for a work of
art to be original or creative. Others would say that what matters is how it
appeals to our imagination.

One or two idioms

Perspective shows the depth of a picture how many dimensions you see. If
you have/keep a sense of perspective, then you see a problem/issue for
what it is often meaning that it is not as serious as it seems.
If you describe someone as being no oil painting, be careful. This means that
they are ugly.

Test your basic art vocabulary

Culture vulture or philistine?

Read more: Art vocabulary http://www.dcielts.com/ielts-vocabulary/artvocabulary-and-exercises/#ixzz3VFd0Oxok
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